|February 5, 2016 — Llewellyn H. Rockwell Jr.
The very first votes of the 2016 presidential election season were cast this week in the Iowa caucuses. This is supposed to fill us with happy thoughts about self-government, civic virtue, rational deliberation, and about politics as the way the people’s will is put into effect.
But to the contrary, we should spurn what the establishment would have us celebrate. Politics operates according to principles that would horrify us if we observed them in our private lives, and that would get us arrested if we tried to live by them. The state can steal and call it taxation, kidnap and call it conscription, kill and call it war.
And yet we are taught to fear capitalism, of all things.
But what, after all, are capitalism and the free market? They are nothing more than the sum total of voluntary exchanges in society.
When we engage in a voluntary exchange — when I buy apples for $5, or when you hire someone for $25 per hour — both sides are better off than they would have been in the absence of the exchange.
We can’t say the same for our interactions with the state, since we pay the state under threat of violence. The state sure winds up better off, though. That’s for sure.